Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julia would have appreciated it that way??

Is there anyone that doesn't love Julia Child??

Growing up, we watched a LOT of cooking shows on PBS. And we'd always turn it on when Julia was on (usually closely followed by someone in the family yelling "Save the livers!" in their best Dan Aykroyd voice) and watch and laugh along with Julia. Always encouraging home cooks to have a go at dishes that can be pretty intimidating.

My big intimidation? Souffles. Don't know why, but they've always seemed like something that is either done correctly or is an epic FAIL ala the pressure cooker in the old "House of Tomorrow" cartoon.



(One reason I still fear pressure cookers, too....)








Also, is there anyone that doesn't love Tex Avery?? Anyway....

So.... with all the hype with "Julie & Julia" hitting the theaters... why not whip out my own copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking and give a try at something that has scared me in the past??



Bring on the souffle!



One great thing about Mastering is that the recipes are written in a way to be somewhat flexible to home cooks at the time the book was done.... not every housewife could get their hands on stuff that is commonplace in American supermarkets now... so there is room in the recipes to play around. I had some leftover broccoli in the fridge, so I decided to go for a broccoli & cheddar (I was out of swiss cheese) souffle.


I cooked some shallots in some butter, since I've got about ten shallots laying around.




Added my flour to make my roux....




Roux... when a roux is involved, the food you are going to be eating is usually gonna be good...



Added some milk that I nuked in the microwave, and it's bechamel....




I took that off the heat and let it cool for a couple minutes, then started adding the 4 egg yolks...



I added them one at a time until they were all in there....



Then stirred in my chopped, cooked broccoli...



Oh, also added the cheese to that when it was cooled. But I forgot to take a picture.


Turned on the oven, and I started with the egg whites....


Yay! Whipped egg whites achived.



Now, on to the real challenge. Folding in the egg whites.


I'm not a good folder (you should just see my dresser drawers..... thank you, thank you, I'm here all week, try the veal and don't forgot to tip your waitress) since I'm just not patient. I know this. But I really, really wanted to try and do it right this time.


So, you add some egg whites and fold...


And fold.....





And fold...





And fold....




And then plop this in your prepped dish and throw it in the oven.....



Oh yeah, I also added some cheese on the top.


I cooked it for the recommended 25 minutes before checking on it, and then cooked it for another 10 minutes, since it still looked a bit pale.




Well, crud.


Not as much lift as I'd like, and not as much brown as I'd like.






Still, it looked good, so I dug in.




D'OH!!!


I did not want it to be watery like that. I suspect it was undercooked. The top was all nice and fluffy and good, but the middle was kinda runny.


I ate the fluffy part and just threw the rest in my turned-off oven while I ate...


At least that seemed to do the trick. The leftovers were at least solid.


So, I blew it a little bit, but at least my kitchen didn't explode in the process. And even not correct, it was still pretty damned nice. We're "breakfast for dinner" people around here, and I can see a nice ham & cheese souffle on our dinner menu soon, since it's basically just like really, really good scrabled eggs.


It wasn't hard, you can even do it in stages and make your bechamel ahead of time and then just do your egg whites right before you throw it in the oven. It's also one of those great things to know how to do so you can use up all the extra bits of cheese, veggies and meats in your fridge. I like things like that.

Although.... sigh.... I try to gracefully remember that even when Julia started doing "The French Chef" on PBS that she & Paul (her husband) had to wash their own dishes.....




But if Julia, Julie, and thousands of determined home cooks out there can do it, so can I.

2 comments:

Hurricane Mikey said...

I don't think I'd have the stones to try and make a souffle until I watched Alton Brown unlock the mysteries of making one on TV first...

Not that I'm an expert, but I thought it was a cardinal sin to 'check on' a souffle until the very end of the allotted baking time.

Pierce said...

Well...I ove Julia Child but I'm afraid of pressure cookers too.

Just surfed in and wanted to leave a comment on your cool blog ;-)